Living the Spirit
In 2011 author Judith O’Reilly decided to do one good deed every day. In an article written for the London-based Daily Mail’s online publication fittingly known as “Mail Online”, columnist Bianca London interviewed O’Reilly. “I didn’t realize when I made the resolution that New Year what I was taking on,” she says in the epilogue to her book. “I’d made resolutions before… but the idea of doing one good deed a day morphed into something else again. This year made me question what a good life is, how we give our lives meaning, and what it is to love. ‘It also taught me that people don’t always want the good you want to do, and that doing good – believe you me – is harder than it looks.”
This series during the season known as Pentecost has been about making the ordinary extraordinary. Each day we have discussed ways to make our living a bit more than it might be otherwise, both for others and ourselves. Life is a journey and I hope in this series, to offer a few ways to make that journey a little more pleasurable and effective. This year there will be in total one hundred and ninety-six days in Pentecost. The day named for Pentecost, the fiftieth day after Easter, begins what it called “Ordinary Time”.
I have challenged you during this series to make this time a little less ordinary and a bit more productive – both for the world, your community, and most importantly, yourself. We have discussed over one hundred ways to do this and in these final few days we will review some of the more popular ones, starting with showing respect.
“You were ordered to obey to Allah, and you were created to perform good deeds.” While I do not identify as a Muslim, I really do appreciate this quote. The author is considered to be the first person to convert to Islam, being a cousin to Muhammad. As a collector of quotations, he is among my favorites. Respect today that wisdom knows no labels or sectarian divides and do yourself a favor by reading up on this man and some of his quotations.
William Shakespeare once wrote “How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a weary world.” To do something good certainly helps the world but it also helps us be better citizens. I hope you will join me during this series and perhaps even undertake a few of the ideas I’ll mention for yourself. In addition to just offering suggestions for actions, many will include websites for assistance and more ideas.
Recently a Facebook app offered to tell me what my name meant I did in a past life. I took the bait and discovered I was apparently Robin Hood. While I once had an interest in archery, I will confess that riding through a darkened forest with an army chasing me so as to hang me is not really enticing to me. I think I will stay living in this century and be happy for the creature comforts I have. I respect them and the people that make them happen.
We can, however, do our little part to make the world a better place. It is, in every religion and spirituality, part of the credo for living. Whether liberal or conservative, non-religious person or devout, doing good just makes good sense. It doesn’t take a lot of money to create a smile. Richelle Goodrich sums it up very succinctly: ““Every sunrise is an invitation for us to arise and brighten someone’s day.”